BronxTalk Celebrates 20 Years Tackling Bronx Issues On Live TV

BronxTalk, one of New York City’s LONGEST running talk shows, celebrates its 20th anniversary tomorrow, Wednesday October 22nd at 8:00PM at the historic Andrew Freedman Home by taping the 954th show which will include looking at historic archives while providing the public a chance to speak during the program.
Through 953 shows, Gary Axelbank, the host of BronxTalk, has tackled many issues that are important to the residents of our borough whether it’s by hosting political debates between running candidates for office, education, the economy, LGBT issues, real estate developments, he has handled them all.  Now, on the eve before the 20th anniversary celebration, BronxNet has released the entire ledger of all 953 shows that were done and if you take a look at it, you’ll see what an impressive body of topics that Gary has covered via BronxTalk.
Welcome2TheBronx took some time to chat with Gary and we’d like to share our Q&A with him below:
How and why did you start BronxTalk?
I had been a radio DJ and program director for the 15 prior years and Bronxnet’s Executive Director, Jim Carney had been my employee when I was the program director at WRNW in Westchester so he knew I had some experience on air and he approached me and asked me if I would be interested in hosting a new talk show.  For me it’s all about helping people understand the realities of the world around them and doing it through music or talk to me is the same thing… just a different medium. So I said yes and that’s how it got started.
Did you ever think you’d be here 20 years later?
I never thought I would be here one day one week or one year later. We do each show each week and try to make it the best we can and as an old radio DJ friend of mine used to say “we’ll be back tomorrow if the curtain don’t fall and the creek don’t rise”. And that’s how I feel.  Having said that, taking the moment now to look back, the list that BronxNet published this morning is truly a remarkable thing to go through. We’ve covered EVERYONE and EVERYTHING over the last 20 years in the Bronx and when I looked at some of the old tapes, frankly, I was impressed. It’s really been an amazing show and I’m very proud of it. I never stopped to really size up the sum of what we’ve done before, but this moment is a good one to do that and I’ve been really happy with what I’ve found. We have covered The Bronx, I think, incredibly well and provide to this day, information and discussion and entertainment that stands the test of time and I am proud of it because we’ve done it right for the right reasons. 
As far as the program … I want to say, that right now, the program is a good as it has ever been. I think the guests are getting to the core of some major issues in The Bronx and that, frankly my interview skills have never been sharper. I also think that my status in The Bronx and experience in it has helped me really understand what’s going on and has made me better able to communicate it.
And let me add the program has been along with the growth of BronxNet television and Michael Max Knobbe and the staff has done an amazing job. Just the fact that we can achieve the kind of production we’re going to be doing on location tomorrow night tells you what you need to know at what a great job they have done to support BronxTalk and the borough of The Bronx. 
How does it feel to have one of New York City’s longest running talk shows?
That’s a nice trivia but it’s really about BronxNet, the fact that there’s so much in The Bronx to talk about, and that I’m looking out my window every day trying to figure out what’s worth talking about and that’s what we do each week. I can’t help if the other boroughs don’t have it together like we do!
Oh and the last questions which readers always love. Where did you grow up in the Bronx and where do you live now? Favorite place to go in the Bronx? 
 I grew up and still live in Van Cortlandt Village. I actually live in the same building I grew up in. I moved out for awhile to start my career and whatnot, but this has been and is my home. Raised my two children here. Son Evan is a TV news reporter at WTVT in Tampa. He’s actually a first-rate journalist and was just nominated for an Emmy for best live coverage. My daughter lives in Brooklyn and works in the hospitality industry. Wife works with children cutting hair and in a pre-school.
Favorite place to go in the BX? hmmm…. home.  I love all our nabes. I love to ride my bike to City Island. I love Belmont. Love the zoo. I don’t like Yankee Stadium…big Mets fan!
(we won’t hold that last bit about the Yankees against Gary because we love him!)
Read Gary’s post below on tomorrow’s show:

In advance of Wednesday’s 20th Anniversary show of BronxTalk, the borough’s first television talk show, BronxNet has posted the historic ledger of all the shows and guests who have appeared on the program since its inception in 1994.

In the 20 years there have been 953 editions of the program and the list of all the shows and guests provides a unique chronicle of Bronx politics,issues, communities, local leaders, and arts and culture over the past two decades.

“It’s a remarkable document to go through,” said Gary Axelbank, the Bronxite who has hosted the program since day one. “You would be hard-pressed to find an important figure, significant issue, or Bronx community that hasn’t at one time or another – or more – appeared on BronxTalk. I’m very proud of what we have accomplished.”

“This BronxTalk library is a tremendous public resource,” said BronxNet Executive Director Michael Max Knobbe. “BronxTalk host Gary Axelbank, along with the entire BronxNet team and all of our neighbors in the Bronx, can celebrate 20 years of discussion and debate as we continue building community together.”

The taping of the 20th anniversary show that will include a look at historic archives and a chance for the public to speak on the program, will take place on Wednesday, October 22 at the Andrew Freedman Home at 1125 Grand Concourse and 165th street beginning at 8:00pm.

For more information call 718-960-1180.



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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.